FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Car parts maker ZF Friedrichshafen said on Friday it acquired a 35 percent stake in ASAP, a Germany-based maker of software and testing systems for autonomous driving applications and electric vehicles.
ASAP specializes in car-to-x communication, human-machine interfaces and electronic architecture and last year generated sales of 84 million euros. It employs 1,100 staff.
ZF’s Chief Executive Officer Wolf-Henning Scheider recently said ZF will invest about 12 billion euros in electromobility and autonomous driving over the next five years.
A purchase price for the ASAP stake was not disclosed.
Reporting by Arno Schuetze, editing by Riham Alkousaa
TOKYO (Reuters) – An escalating trade war between the United States and China has dampened manufacturers’ appetite for investment in equipment, causing growth in the industrial robot market to slow, the chief of the global robot industry group said.
Many global manufacturers “are now in a wait-and-see mode, wondering whether to shift production (away from China) to, let’s say, Vietnam or the United States,” said Junji Tsuda, chief of the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), in an interview on Thursday.
IFR, which brings together nearly 60 global robot suppliers and integrators, predicts worldwide industrial robot sales this year to grow 10 percent compared to last year’s 30 percent jump.
China is the world’s largest robots market with a 36 percent global share, with its sales volume exceeding the total of Europe and the Americas combined.
Tsuda, also the chairman of Japan’s Yaskawa Electric Corp, said the manufacturers would move out of the wait-and-see mode by the end of this year.
It will take a while for the direction of the trade war to be clear, Tsuda said. “But global demand for smartphones, semiconductors and autos have been solid, and the time will eventually come that they can wait no longer and will resume investment to meet the demand.”
Yaskawa, one of the world’s top robot manufacturers, last week cut its annual operating profit forecast to 59 billion yen ($524.40 million) from 65.5 billion yen, citing a slowdown in smartphone-related demand in China and growing caution over the trade dispute.
From next year onwards, however, IFR expects the robot market growth to pick up again, forecasting an average 14 percent increase per year through 2021.
($1 = 112.5100 yen)
Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman
MOSCOW (Reuters) – It was an unusual job advert. Wanted: Cat chief. Location: Zelenogradsk, Russia: Duties: Tending to the town’s approximately 70 stray cats.
Some 80 applicants applied for the new role with the municipality in the small town in the Kaliningrad region, which has also erected a cat statue and added a feline to its emblem in a bid to rebrand itself as Russia’s foremost cat-loving community.
In the end, local resident Svetlana Logunova was appointed guardian of the town’s felines. To help her with the task, she was given a bicycle and uniform, including a bright green jacket, black bow tie and hat.
She has been given a budget of 5,700 roubles ($85) a month to ensure all the seaside community’s cats are happy, dishing out food, strokes and free rides in the basket on her bike.
“I alone cannot care for every single one and a helping hand would go a long way,” Logunova said.
Louisville Voter Guides have in the past left something to be desired. The official state guide at govoteky.com only gets a voter to register and understandably it leaves out most of the candidate information.
Sean Delahanty’s campaign site similarly must remain neutral as a judge must remain nonpartisan but his voter guide includes candidates website links when available, and a side by side tweeter comparison for the Louisville Metro Mayor‘s race. This adds a more rich experience to visitors looking for more than just a piece of the puzzle.
Local Election Coverage
The Complete Voter Guide as it is termed on the site aims to form a puzzle from all of the pieces of other sites. Jefferson County Clerk’s site provides precinct and voter statistics, the Kentucky Secretary of State’s site provides voter information lookup capabilities and various mapping sites provide legislative districts for State House, State Senate, Metro Council Districts and suburban cities.
What District Am I In?
When Louisville merged with Jefferson County decades ago it did a secular thing in leaving all of the other cities in the county in tact. This means that in addition to Louisville election districts the same voters may have additional cities and districts to vote upon. The cities of Shively, St. Matthews and Jeffersonville are the largest of these examples. Some cities barely cover a couple blocks such as Stratford Manor. The voter guide at Sean Delahanty’s site provides a Louisville Neighborhoods and Districts map to aid voters in those regards.
Its an interesting collection of info and insights that Louisville voters don’t usually see in local elections. Polling is almost nonexistent at this level but the voter guide still makes an attempt with their polling for entertainment purposes. The site’s inclusion of crime data for the last ten years is also unique as it divides incidents by category and zip code.
Its a good guide from a nonpartisan candidates campaign.
State Board of Elections and County Clerk’s will be reporting unofficial numbers on election night. These numbers may differ from voting polls or each other. We’ll report both sets of results through the Election Results page.
Its likely no secret we’re working hard to rank up Judge Sean Delahanty‘s site. He had judgeseandelahanty.com but I’ve always believed that the primary site for any campaign needs to be someone’s name unless its hard to spell without any office referenced.
Thats why we developed his new election site seandelahanty.com. Wanting to bring a small level of gamification and interactivity I added polls and debated a chat section but due to speed concerns on the domain I moved that idea to fordelahanty.com. Its a site to allow supporters to collaborate and make a difference.
In the image below you can see the vast majority of his tracked pages are on page one of Google. In order to draw new traffic from higher search volumned topics I added the FAQ and Voter Guide content. The voter guide is not the most innovative site but it is likely the one campaign site that provides maps and names on races beyond their own. Its a gamble that the voter will find and appreciate Sean Delahanty’s site
The site recently received a make over notice the reported as of today.
(Editor’s note: Several Insider Louisville contributors collected information for this post including Terry Boyd, who did the majority of the writing.)
This is a story with a back story.
We’ve been trying for weeks to get documents related to chronic absenteeism by a small minority of Jefferson District Court judges.
Insiders told Insider Louisville Chief Judge Angela McCormick Bisig is one of a group of female judges frequently absent from the court, a group that includes fellow judges Katie King and Michele Stengel.
Neither King nor Stengel replied to written requests for interviews left with court officials.
Bisig’s and others’ absences caused log jams, confusion and unreasonable workloads for the judges who do show up, say those sources, whose identities we agreed to keep confidential, because they have to appear before these judges, or work beside them as colleagues.
These particular judges are the judges who sort through the jammed criminal dockets in a court system that attorneys say is broken.
For two weeks, we tried to find out, and we know now this is a story that will have to be teased out over time.
Multiple sources told Insider Louisville that Bisig, among others, had extensive absences from her courtroom during 2012.
In an interview Thursday, Bisig told Insider Louisville that she hadn’t “taken a single day of vacation this year.”
However, the judge posted photos on her Facebook page of an April trip to New York City.
Bisig then confirmed she took “a long weekend” to go with her sons, adding that “any allegations of excessive absences are not true.”
What’s the truth?
We don’t know.
It’s nearly impossible to document the workings of the court, especially which of the 14 district court judges actually earn their paychecks, about $113,000 annually. (By comparison, Gov. Steve Beshear is paid $127,885 annually.)
Insider Louisville was denied documents, or told documents didn’t exist, only to find out they were public domain.
Beyond the stonewalling, documenting those absences and the additional strains they place on colleagues is difficult, because judges have virtually no obligation beyond personal scruples to show up.
We also came away with the feeling that at least one judge wants to tell the whole story, but can’t quite bring himself to do it.
But Delahanty won’t discuss the situation beyond vague assertions of lack of work ethic by other judges.
This very problem – backed up courts – was the driving force for a reorganization of Jefferson District Court last August.
Before that reorganization, judges were too frequently combining dockets, Delahanty said. That is, one judge doesn’t show up, so another judge has to fold that additional case load into his or her docket.
That’s still going on now, he said.
“The only reasons judges are supposed to combine dockets is vacations or emergencies, and dockets are getting combined way too often for other things,” Delahanty said.
Which could be interpreted as a shot at Bisig, who appears frequently at social events featured in the Voice-Tribune newspaper, the Bible of Louisville’s social scene.
Pressed to address the major problems in the courts, Delahanty said, “There are things that will come out in time.”
“What he’s talking about is the lack of accountability the judges have in the way they spend their time,” said attorney Thomas Clay, a partner at Clay Frederick Adams, PLC.
Clay and other attorneys say there are two ways judges hand off their dockets – by calling a colleague and asking that judge to take their cases, or to call into clerks of the court, who would assign the absent judge’s docket to another judge.
Which is what causes delays and confusion, with judges not in their assigned courtrooms when defendants, witnesses and judges show up for trials and hearings, say our sources.
The system leads to a core of judges picking up the slack including Delahanty, our sources said.
“I defy you to find one attorney anywhere out there who will say my courtroom is broken,” Delahanty said. “You can come to my courtroom anytime you want. Courtroom 204. You come any day, and you can see how a court should be run.”
Asked to talk about the workings of the court or attorneys who don’t run their courtrooms as they should be run, he demurred.
Most elected officials have some mechanism that can be used for accountability whether it be records of votes, legislation or roads paved.
But not judges.
Delahanty told Insider Louisville that he doesn’t believe there are any documents that have data documenting the time judges are in the courtroom or the volume of cases they hear: “We don’t keep a record of attendance.”
“It’s an issue that needs to be addressed. And this is not an issue that just cropped up recently. There have been questions about this topic for years,” Clay said.
Jacob Conway, whose Website Mentors consults with local judicial campaigns and frequent Insider Louisville contributor, said he finds ridiculous allegations that Bisig is a chronic no-show.
Bisig, a former prosecutor, “had a stellar record” in that job, Conway said. “She was one of the people who was always there, later than her job required, longer than any other judges … a workhorse. It’s why no one ever ran against her before.”
Conway says he believes allegations that Bisig and other female judges are devoting less than their all to their positions connect back to possible resentment about more women winning judicial elections.
“A majority of women on the court are women who beat incumbent men,” he said. “These men pointing fingers may be upset about the number of women judges (winning) just in the last few years.
“This is the last ‘old boys club’ left in (Kentucky) politics.”
Two weeks ago, legal insiders told us about a survey of attorneys coming out Tuesday, August 21 that would expose the Jefferson District Court system as a system in chaos.
We went to Bisig to request a copy. Bisig was non-committal, telling us she didn’t know anything about any survey, and wasn’t sure if it would be public record if there was such a document.
We persisted. We asked who paid for the survey, aguing if it was paid with taxpayers’ dollars, it’s a public document. Bisig said she didn’t know.
We asked state officials, including Leigh Anne Hiatt, public information officer for the Administrative Office of the Courts in Frankfort, for the document. Hiatt never followed up on our request.
We asked local employees at the Administrators of the Court, and they claimed the survey didn’t exist, or referred us to state officials.
Wednesday night, Riley posted a story on the survey, a story that stated 53 percent of 164 lawyers responding disagreed or strongly disagreed the reorganization had enhanced administration of justice, with 10 percent agreeing. (Thirty-seven percent had no opinion.)
From Riley’s story:
Among the biggest problems cited in the survey are that the changes have led to too many combined dockets – those in which a judge took on their own cases as well as the cases of another judge who was either not in court that day or unavailable, backing up the process.
We tried to quantify attendance rates and workloads through the court dockets, which our sources told us judges must sign off on daily.
However, in an email response, Hiatt stated that’s not true (emphasis ours):
You … requested information about when individual judges are on the bench. The court system does not have any one document to provide that information. In addition, docket information does not provide a complete picture of when judges are working. When outside of the courtroom, judges may be preparing paperwork, reviewing probate files, ruling on default judgment motions and taking 24-hour calls regarding bond reviews, search warrants, emergency protective orders and mental inquest warrants. Judges can also have dockets on evenings and weekends. It is also important to note that judges determine their own schedules to meet the needs in their jurisdictions.